New OHSAA Rule Hopes To Limit Student Sport Transfers

The members of the Ohio High School Athletic Association have approved a major change in the student transfer rule for open enrollment. With 65% of the member schools voting (450-244) in favor, the new rule will make the transferring student-athlete sit out of competition the "second half of the season- including the entire tournament", according to OHSAA Commissioner Dan Ross.

The current rule called for the transferring student to sit out the first half of the season. Originally, the OHSAA approved a rule where the transferring student athlete sat out the entire first season at their new school, but that rule was modified when a state court ruled it too harsh.

Commissioner Ross says the OHSAA member schools asked for the new referendum because they felt the "first-half rule" was not preventing enough of the student-athlete transfers.

There are still exceptions in place, where under certain "hardships", a transferring student-athlete might be able to play right-away.

Students whose parents or guardians actually move into the school district, will be eligible to play immediately.

OHSAA member schools passed all eight proposed revisions. The approved changes will go into effect August 1 unless otherwise noted. A simple majority approval by member schools required for a proposed amendment to be adopted.

Here is a list of all the referendums and their results:

High Schools

809 high school ballots were mailed, 697 ballots were returned (86 percent)

Issue 1 B – Amend Bylaws 2-1-4 and 2-1-5 – Classification of Schools

Amend to provide clarity when school districts consolidate and when schools open, close or merge in either public multiple high school districts or non-public systems in terms of counting students for classification purposes.

Passed 680-14


Issue 2 B – Amend Bylaw 4-6-3– Residence

Amend to make it clear that there is no eligibility unless a student has a parent, biological or adoptive, who lives in Ohio or meets an exception.

Passed 651-45


Issue 3 B – New Exception 4 – Bylaw 4-6-3 – Residence – Renumber 5-11

A student whose parent(s) has been continuously employed for a minimum of three years as a fulltime, licensed or classified employee in an Ohio school district or system, may be declared eligible in an Ohio school in that district or system where the parent is employed. Once eligibility is established at the member school/district, the student shall remain eligible under this exception for as long as he or she maintains continuous enrollment in that school.

Passed 616-78


Issue 4 B – Amend Bylaw 4-7-2 – Transfer

Permit a transfer student who does not meet an exception to be eligible insofar as transfer is concerned for all contests ONLY until the first 50% of the maximum allowable regular season contests have been competed in any sport the student played in the 12 months immediately preceding the transfer.  Thereafter, the student shall be ineligible for the remainder of the regular season contests AND the OHSAA sponsored tournament in that sport (s).

Passed 450-244, effective date May 16, 2018


Issue 5 B – Amend Exception 2 – Bylaw 4-7-2 - Transfer

Permit a one-time transfer for a student whose parents have a Shared Parenting Plan and have re-designated the residential parent for school purposes, which creates a need for the student to change schools.

Passed 627-67


Issue 6 B – Amend Exception 1 – Bylaw 4-8-1 – International and Exchange Students

Permit eligibility for the international student when at least one of the parents, biological or adoptive, reside in Ohio.

Passed 631-70


Issue 7 B – Amend Bylaw 4-8-2 – International and Exchange Students

Permit the Executive Director’s Office to consider waiving the scholarship and semester requirements for a domestic student studying outside the United States and restoring eligibility upon return to the same high school under the three stipulated conditions: application in advance of the program; no sports participation during the experience;  and available only after completing the first or second year of high school.

Passed 612-83



7th-8th Grade Schools

878 junior high school ballots were mailed, 538 ballots were returned (61 percent)


Issue 1 B – Amend Bylaw 1-6-4 – Team Membership

Member schools containing grades 7 and 8 may combine students from two or more schools within the school district/system to form one or more interscholastic teams in a sport. Requests for permission to combine students from two or more schools in the same public district or non-public system must be submitted annually to the OHSAA in writing by the superintendent of the public district or non-public system.

Passed 389-144


The OHSAA’s annual referendum voting and District Athletic Board election period is from May 1-15. Each member school has one vote, which is cast by the principal. After 809 ballots were mailed to member high schools in late April, 697 valid ballots were returned for a voter turnout of 86 percent.

(Pictured Above: OHSAA Commissioner Dan Ross)


Content Goes Here